One of the major breakthroughs of the past couple of years has been how issues of diversity, inclusion, and belonging have entered the mainstream public consciousness and become a key issue inside corporate corridors. In a recent Deloitte CEO survey, building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce was a top 3 challenge for 43% of CEOs. At Emerging World, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging (DIBs) work has long been a feature of the immersive learning experiences we provide but its role is now changing. In the past we might have addressed it by including a session on Unconscious Bias in a programme.

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In the VUCA world, formal learning that equips learners with programmed knowledge extracted from the past is no longer sufficient. As Action Learning coaches, we appreciate how Action Learning supports leaders to deal with new unknowns through insightful questions and reflections. The process helps uncover new learning while taking actions and applying programmed knowledge. All happens simultaneously without delay. As an experienced practitioner of both Action Learning and Appreciative Inquiry (AI), I formulated an Action Learning process aligned with the essential strength-based principles to support clients.

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I do believe that Action Learning is one of the greatest approaches when it comes to solving a problem, but there is more. Once, about 6 years ago, I was a part of the group of Action Learning coaches that got together to solve a problem one of them had. It was an incredible experience: as if a team of superhumans went grocery shopping. It takes much less than they are truly capable of: but this did not discourage, it did the opposite, it inspired them. There was everything: enough pauses for listening and building on each other’s questions, lots of enthusiasm and grace in living it through.

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We’ve learned that ACTION LEARNING is a very powerful tool that could promote the fruitful idea-sharing for better problem solving regardless of differences in generation, education, position level and so on. It’s also a practical way to cultivate nice cultures in an organization such as listening, valuing differences, and a practical way in the development of a real learning organization and strengthening teamwork and team collaboration. It makes people recognize that their ideas are valuable and they are meaningful in the organization.

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As part of the WIAL Gives Back initiative, the Dominica Red Cross Society (DRCS) received free WIAL coaching for four Action Learning sessions so that it could find breakthrough strategies for an urgent and important problem. For the Action Learning exercise, the organization’s Director-General, Mrs Sandra Charter-Rolle, selected a diverse group comprising employees of the organization, a Red Cross volunteer from the community, and two representatives from the private sector. Mrs Charter-Rolle participated as a member of the group and as a problem presenter.

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CARICAD has incorporated into its leadership development programmes the Action Learning methodology which is embraced by brand-recognisable organisations across the world. Based on the feedback from CARICAD programme participants, Action Learning has proven to be very effective in real-time development of leadership skills, breakthrough problem-solving and strengthening of team effectiveness skills. Organisations can significantly increase their internal capacity for leadership development, team building, innovation and problem-solving by using Action Learning.

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A lot of things happened in our organization in the last 10 months. COVID-19 forced most of us and our teams to work remotely and suddenly, our work, home, school, studies and all the relations had to exist in one space. Some people found it not so bad – not spending time in traffic givest them more time to spend with their family, read or exercise to support their health. Some found it extremely hard – not be able to be in the office, talk to people over a coffee, create value for the clients, using all the tools they knew and loved. Constantly thinking about health issues – worrying about ourselves, our families and friends does not help.

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A very empowering and positive question that invites people or teams to reflect on their behaviours and actions that deliver great results. It is positive as it implies positive outcomes are being achieved. It is also motivational as it recognises and celebrates the desired outcomes and behaviours. This question reinforces the desired outcomes and behaviours and also motivates their repetition. This occurs because people will repeat the behaviours that they are rewarded for and positively recognised. It engages people in continuous improvement.

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As coaches, we recognize the power of Action Learning in organizations – to achieve breakthrough strategies, obtain sustainable results and develop remarkable leaders and teams. But have you considered that with Action Learning you can have an even greater impact, one that touches the wider global community? This is the objective of the Fundraising, Scholarships and Grants committee at the World Institute for Action Learning (WIAL), which is exploring ways that we can use Action Learning and our coaching skills to create a better world.

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What do you do when you reach a life milestone like your 30th birthday ? Splurge money on the latest fashion craze? Feast on excessive foods and debilitating drinks? After Yeye from the Philippines discovered Action Learning through a Foundations program, she decided to celebrate her 30th birthday in a different way. Fueled by events happening in the Philippines and inspired by Fr. Bienvenido Nebres’s and DILG Usec Austere Panadero’s call to help others at a conference she attended, she wanted to make her birthday celebration a meaningful one.

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